COSTA MESA, Calif. – Vanguard (12-16) took down Evangel (Mo.) (11-4), 8-1, in the first round of the 2013 NAIA Women's Tennis National Championships on Tuesday afternoon at the Mobile Tennis Center. The Lions swept all six singles matches and earned points at second and third doubles to advance in the tournament.
The Pride will face No. 6 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (17-2) on Tuesday at 11:00am (PST) in the second round.
"The girls were striking the ball pretty well today," head coach Mattias Johansson said. "We were a little rusty in match play here and there, especially in the beginning. Obviously, this was a good team win for us. Ana and Melanie really set the tone and played their best matches all season. I thought it was a great way for them to perform in their first national tournament. If the girls can step up and play the same way tomorrow in singles, and play a little more solid in doubles, we definitely have a good chance in the second round."
Nina Pudar and Gabriele Alford scored the Blue and Gold's first point of the day after making quick work of Evangel's Jenna Elliott and Kelly Bush at second pairs. The Lions' number twos have won seven of their last eight doubles match-ups.
Vanguard's third duo, Anita Taranto and Melanie Parker, finished their doubles pairing minutes later. Taranto and Parker flew out to an early 4-0 lead against EU's Phine Mulumba and Kailey Rowland and eventually posted an 8-5 point to put the Pride up 2-0 in the match.
Evangel's number ones, Amy Grossklag and Ali Sivinski, closed out doubles play by garnering a point for the Crusaiders following a tight 9-7 showdown with VU's Juliet Labarthe and Michaele Sullivan.
In singles, Taranto zeroed Roland (6-0, 6-0) in the six hole to finish first. Alford was not far behind, managing a 6-0, 6-1 defeat of her EU counterpart, Bush, at No. 4. Parker followed suit in the fifth spot with a 6-0, 6-0 point against Mulumba to secure a place for VU in the second round.
Vanguard's next three points from Pudar, Labarthe and Sullivan at No. 2, No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, were just icing on the cake for the 11th-ranked Lions.
Pudar bested Elliott 6-4, 6-4 while Labarthe conquered Grossklag 6-2, 6-1. Sullivan dropped her first set to Sivinski 7-5, but roared back with a 6-0 second set to force the tie-breaker, which she won 10-4.